Annie’s Bicycle

Annie always wanted a red bicycle, that is, once she outgrew her twenty inch sea-foam green one, but back then, there really wasn’t much selection. Girls’ bikes were blue; the boys’ bikes were red with a bar, but first, she had to learn to ride her bike.

Training wheels helped when she began, but soon they were raised, lifted off the ground. For Annie, it only made her feel unbalanced and when she fell, and she fell all too often, it only made it more difficult to get back on her bicycle again. Her younger sister Carrie had a smaller bike, blue and red, but she was struggling, too. Finally, their dad took the training wheels off their bikes, probably deciding it was time they learned to ride.

One early summer evening, Carrie, Annie, and their friend Teri were playing in their front yard when their older sister Kelly said she’d help them learn to ride their bikes. Carrie rolled her bike out from the garage. Straddling the pedals, Carrie extracted a promise from her sister that she’d hold on. The pair began to move; Carrie pedaling and Kelly running beside her and holding on as she told Carrie, “Pedal as fast as you can.”  A few feet beyond, Kelly let go and Carrie was riding on her own. Next came Teri, and the same routine commenced with the same exultation.

Not so, for Annie. Having seen the trick in action twice, she was skeptical and kept falling off before she could get going on her own. Eventually, Kelly gave up as Annie refused to even try.

Soon all of her younger friends in the neighborhood began to ride independently up and down the street and driveways. Everyone but Annie, that is. No matter how many times she was offered help, she knew what would happen, and it did. She started pedaling, the person would let go, and she’d fall. Annie thought she’d never learn to ride her bike.

One hot July afternoon, all of the neighborhood kids were all over at Annie’s house trying to decide what to do. Should they play hide-n-go-seek? Tag? Or something less hot? All the while, Annie kept getting on her bicycle and trying to ride. Over and over again, she’d put her foot on the pedal and push off. Time after time, she’d fail, the bike clattering to the grass.

Fortunately, nobody was paying attention to Annie as she continued to climb on the lower pedal and push off, or so she thought. The more frustrated she got, the more determined she became to do it on her own. Annie kept at until finally she managed to ride. Not very far, not very fast, but she did it!

“Hey, Annie!”  someone yelled, but she didn’t hear who as she ran into the house to tell her mom. She fell into her mom’s arms nearly sobbing.

“Mom, I rode my bike,” Annie said, and her mom said how proud she was of her.

After she calmed down and went outside again, it was like a new day. Annie could hold her head up because finally she could ride a bike like everyone else. What everyone finally decided to do that day, who knows. For Annie, the day was already a success.


Over time, Annie outgrew her little bike, but then so did Kelly. At that time, Kelly rode a blue twenty-four inch bike with balloon tires. It was this bike that was given to Annie when her parents bought a brand new larger bicycle for Kelly. Her new one was blue, of course, with sleek, shiny fenders, and thinner tires. It was so pretty compared to Kelly’s castoff, but that was Annie’s new bike as Carrie took over Annie’s hand-me-down.

At first, Annie was disappointed with the oldest of the bikes, but soon she discovered that those fat tires, that everyone seemed to make a joke of, were great when it came to racing. The bike looked slow, but it could move especially when coasting. More than one person was surprised by the bike’s speed, and Annie was almost sorry when the bicycle was replaced a couple years later for a brand new bike similar to the one Kelly had been given. It was perfect, and it was the bike that Annie rode until she went away to college.

After college, Annie decided to purchase another bike. One with gears, a racer, definitely fancier than anything she’d ever had before. But most important, she wanted a bike that was red. By now, bikes came in all colors, not just red and blue. She actually went to a bike shop where she was fitted for a bike. In stock there were many  colors including a deep red; however, there weren’t any red ones in her size. Even now, Annie rides a sleek silver racing bike.






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May 2017’s Reads of a Pedometer Geek

This pedometer geek hasn’t written much in the past month or so. Well, at least, not here on my blog. I have shared a post or two of others’ writings, but that is about it. I’d like to claim that it is due to the fact that I have really lived up to my pedometer geek status, but unfortunately, that isn’t true. On the other hand, May was an excellent writing month as several of my haiku and/or senryu and  my poems (yeah, I still can’t distinguish the nuances between the two forms.) have been accepted into journals and anthologies. To see three of the haiku/senryu, check out Mike Rehling’s Failed Haiku on WordPress for June. He does an excellent job with his monthly online journal, reading thousands of entries each month, and not just because he included some of mine, but I digress.

My step totals were down a bit from the previous month, and in actuality they were the lowest of 2017. In May this pedometer geek only managed 257,389 steps on the pedometer. Of these, 104,770 steps were aerobic steps (obtained on all but three days), but the goal of 10,000 steps was only managed a third of the time. The goal of a thousand miles throughout the year is now reduced to 532 miles with 86 miles logged throughout the month.

On the other hand, this pedometer geek reader made some progress on the two Bookcrossing challenges in which I am participating. As to the pages-read challenge, which is a yearly challenge, 4,588 pages were read throughout the month bringing the yearly total to 20,819 pages toward the goal of 40,000 pages.

The other Bookcrossing challenge is the quarterly SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge and twelve books were chosen for the challenge. At the beginning of the month, only one of these books had been read. At the end of the month three more of these books were completed. With a month to go on this challenge, it will be a stretch to finish the last eight books chosen; however, it is still possible.

Of the sixteen books read, all but one of them were fiction. Six of the books were part of one series, and two of these were actually novellas. Another novel finished up another series. The nonfiction was a memoir. Various genres were read, and some with a blend of genres. From suspense to romance to YA to urban fantasy as well as mainstream novels, it was a diverse month of reading material. Six of the authors were new to this reader, and nine of the books were read in an e-book format.

In May, the following books were read:

Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Forever in Love by Leeanna Morgan

Rescue by Anita Shreve

Wrath of Magic by Simone Pond

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate   *

The Confession of Stella Moon by Shelley Day

Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard  *

Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Good Guys Love Dogs by Inglath Cooper

Kiss of Venom by Jennifer Estep

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi  *

Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Thread of Death  by Jennifer Estep

While each of these could be discussed, they won’t be. Only the memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, is truly notable for the story of the young neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi, who wrote about his diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer just as he was finishing up his training. Switching from his role as physician to one of patient makes for an incredibly poignant read, and is definitely worth being read by all, but especially by anyone in the medical field; it is highly recommended.

Several of the books,  Wrath of Magic and Beyond the Rising Tide, were extensively reviewed on my review site Wondering about any of the other books, just ask.

Now, this pedometer geek has a few books to read to finish up the SIY challenge as well as writing some poems, which may be submitted. And, of course, put more steps on the pedometer. So, later…

* The asterisked titles are SIY books


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World Hypertension Day – May 17

Sharing this as the information is of value to anyone who battles high blood pressure or wants to avoid having to take medications for it. Thanks drugopinions for posting it in the first place. As a pharmacist myself, I saw way too many people who had to take multiple medications just to control their blood pressure.


It’s World Hypertension Day.  Last year, I talked about how important it is to know your numbers and what they mean. Check out last year’s post here. This year, I want to highlight few simple things you can do to help reduce blood pressure without medications.  The Mayo Clinic has nicely outlined 10 things you can do.

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I ink, therefore I am: A short story

Mara B., a friend of mine through the now defunct Red Room writers’ site (which I still miss, but I digress), suggested that she’d like to read a short-short of an event described in a poem I penned a couple years ago. That she believed it could be just as, if not more effective, as flash fiction. Frankly, she is the person I consider a master of the genre, describing in exquisite, tight prose a person or event. I finally present it now, with trepidation. I only hope that I have succeeded in my attempt.


Waiting in the Auckland airport for our return flight home, I was sitting by myself minding our luggage as Rob was briefly away.

A few seats down sat a dark-haired, twenty-something male sporting a tattoo that completely covered his left bicep. An obviously new tattoo as the ink was black and clearly delineated with a greasy ointment. The fact was he was picking at it as if it were itchy and irritated, too, yet there was a satisfied expression being manifested by his body language.

As a general rule, I am not particularly impressed with tattoos as there is little that I would want engraved upon my person permanently, but I have to admit that this tattoo caught my eye with its Maori-like swirls, yet also reminiscent of a Celtic knot.

To look or not? To speak or not? I chose to look; I chose to speak. “Fresh ink?” I asked, and he nodded, shoving his sleeve of his white t-shirt up to his shoulder, showing it off further.

“It’s the souvenir of my trip,” the dark brown-eyed youth said. The pride in his voice was obvious, and smiling, he allowed me a closer look. I could see that it was not his only inking as there was a small, less visible tattoo on the skin of wrist, but this one was the one upon which I was focused.

“Very cool, truly nice,” I said, and it was true. I could believe it was the souvenir of his trip as this tattoo would have been really expensive. Moreover, it was the kind of tattoo I could understand as I had traveled this land for two weeks. I realized the power of the land of the Maori with their ritual tattooing, each one designed by the village chief to symbolize both paternal and maternal families, their haka, a war-like dance even performed by the national rugby team, the fairness-for-all doctrine that ruled throughout the country, and the pride of every citizen who had even one drop of Maori blood, to change a person. I know the marks are invisible, but I too was ritually tattooed, never to forget this land and its people.



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Million Mile Month: Results and More

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

This pedometer geek has started a few blogs with the quote above because this year this pedometer geek has decided to walk a thousand miles (as challenged by one of my British bookcrossing friends, Callyc). Never have I considered my mileage, nor tracked it; it has always been the goal of putting on 10,000 steps or more daily on my pedometer. Sometimes I succeed; most times I fail, however, that doesn’t mean I intend to quit any time soon.

In April, I once again participated in the Million Mile Month for the third time (and have the t-shirts to prove it, but I digress). For those unfamiliar with the Million Mile Month (MMM), all the runners or walkers challenge themselves individually to tackle a movement goal, which adds to the collective total to achieve a million miles during the month of April. This pedometer geek set my goal at MMM at eighty miles, yet planned on walking one hundred miles. Actually, I managed 100.89 miles throughout the month of April, but more important than that, all of those people who signed up for MMM challenge managed to run, walk, swim, etc. 1,315,410 miles. As a community, 88,963,729 calories were burned and there were 17,057,017 minutes of activity. (See for more information)

Despite having managed my goal of one hundred miles, this pedometer geek still fell a bit short of the overall goal of 10,000 steps every day. Twenty days the goal was accomplished. The total number of steps for the month was 290,980 with 131,986 aerobic steps. As far as the goal of 1000 miles, it is now reduced to a little more than 619 miles to go before the end of the year.

On the other hand, this pedometer geek’s reading time was way up. Having taken a part-time job helping with Early Voting during a special primary election, there was plenty of time to read despite my duties (and far too few areas to put steps on my pedometer although not for lack of trying). As such, this pedometer geek reader managed to read sixteen different books throughout the month. While most of them were fairly light reading material (romances, mostly), there were some books of substance (literary novels and nonfiction) in the mix. Twelve of the books were read in an e-book format. Eleven of the authors were new to this reader.

With the beginning of another quarter, a set of books were chosen for the Bookcrossing SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge. Twelve books were chosen, but only one was completed during the month, leaving a huge deficit for the remaining two months of the challenge. The Bookcrossing yearly pages-read challenge is coming along nicely with a total of 16,231 pages read of the 40,000 page goal.

In April the following books were read:

Return to Love by Christine Kingsley

Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither by Sara Baume

Love’s Funny That Way by Pamela Burford

Blindsided by Jami Davenport

Skating on Thin Ice by Jami Davenport

Last First Kiss by Lia Riley

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold *

Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

Banished Love by Ramona Flightner

Craving for Love by Violet Vaughn

Lease on Love by Violet Vaughn

I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers

Rush for Love by Violet Vaughn

Love Life by Lexy Timms

From Glowing Embers by Emilie Richards

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons

The only book that will be discussed is Sue Klebold’s book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy.  Written by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two boys involved in the Columbine shooting, it is an eye-opening account of what the Klebold family went through before, during, and after the shootings at the school. This reader found it both sad and chilling reading. Sad for the fact that the family received so much hate mail, sad for the fact that it was suicidal depression that drove Dylan to commit these atrocities, sad for the fact that the mother couldn’t feel like she could grieve for her own child’s death while also grieving and guilt-ridden for those who lives who had either been lost or affected, and sad that ultimately, despite his role in the shootings, that she still loved him. Chilling for the fact that she didn’t recognize how deep his depression went, chilling for the fact that she was as shocked by his actions as everyone else, chilling for the 20/20 hindsight of the facts, chilling for reliving the event through her words, and chilling because these events keep happening. This wasn’t an easy read by any stretch of the imagination, yet it is a book that should be read. It is a look into the heart and mind of a mother who works tirelessly to prevent other suicides and other events of this nature. It was easy enough to imagine any teen, even one of my children, becoming so depressed that the only way out might be suicide, or so involved with another youth that he/she might be willing to go along without considering the consequences to themselves, their friends, and their families.

Lia Riley’s First Last Kiss has been reviewed on my review site: If interested in knowing about any of the other books, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Now, back to putting  some steps on my pedometer.





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Million Mile Month: Nearing the end

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

For the Million Mile Month this pedometer geek chose a goal to complete eighty miles in April, but secretly I hoped to make one hundred miles. Having completed the original goal the other day, I have five days to make it to one hundred. As mentioned in previous posts, this pedometer geek also challenged myself to one thousand miles over the course of 2017.

Globally, the Million Mile Month participants have surpassed the million miles and are currently closing in on two million miles. It’s not to late to join, and help make the goal. It’s only five days!

Now, I’m off to hit the treadmill; this pedometer geek has to put a few more steps on my pedometer if I’m to reach a hundred miles.

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Act Before You Think

Words of wisdom. Write, just write.

Eva Lesko Natiello

6996044925_6b81f103c0_b photo by Steven Worster

On a Facebook writers group I’m a member of, someone started a discussion by asking who among us were Indies, who were traditionally published, and who were “authors in waiting.” I suspected the term “author in waiting” to be someone with a completed manuscript who was waiting to either secure a literary agent, or a publishing deal. Tons of writers chimed in with their status. Most people stuck to one of those three options, or a soon-to-be-added fourth: hybrid author (someone who has both traditionally published and self-published).

Tucked into the litany of responses was this comment: I am contemplating writing a novel.

That slowed my rapid scrolling to a dead stop.

I immediately  thought about all the things that one should carefully consider before doing: (continue reading)

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